KANSAS CITY — Athletic administrators throughout the Big 12 are casting anxious eyes toward Kansas, but not because the unbeaten Jayhawks look threatening.
They’re wondering if what happened to Kansas could also happen to them. Could a nasty little controversy that started with a coach chewing out a player but now has flared into a statewide embarrassment befall them as well?
Short answer: Yes.
It’s also something that could affect the traditional media-program relationship and diminish the view that fans enjoy of their favorite teams. Many schools, especially Kansas, are now wondering if they should reconsider letting news cameras and microphones get close enough to pick up what is said and done in the heat of battle. Strategies, game-plan secrets and profane language are meant only for players and coaches.
“There are several options that we could take, ranging from monitoring it more to moving the TV stations up on top of the press box and telling them to shoot from there. Right now, we’re going with the option of monitoring it very closely, seeing if it happens again,” associate Kansas athletic director Jim Marchiony said.
At the heart of it all is coach Mark Mangino’s expletive-filled tongue-lashing of Raimond Pendleton in the Jayhawks’ Sept. 1 opener against Central Michigan. After returning a punt for a touchdown, Pendleton went diving into the end zone, drawing a 15-yard penalty and infuriating Mangino. A couple of times Mangino took hold of the player’s helmet to make sure he was looking at him as he yelled and gestured.
A nearby television camera posted the scene on its Web site, and it eventually made its way to the online video-sharing site YouTube. Critics denounced Mangino, the school and, in some instances, even college football itself.
Mike Hoeflich, a 13-year member of the Kansas faculty, wrote that he was embarrassed by what happened.
“What is the source of my embarrassment? Football coach Mark Mangino’s behavior toward his players as evidenced by the startling video now available on YouTube and other Web sites. ... No normal faculty member could behave toward a student as coach Mangino did and avoid serious consequences.”
While Kansas takes issue with those who say Mangino physically abused the player, the language he used is a different subject.
“Coaches have spoken like that occasionally ever since organized sports began,” Marchiony said. “We are not condoning the language Mark used. But he’s coaching in the heat of the moment.
“Things like that happen. I’m not going to say whether Mark apologized or not in private. If he’s going to apologize to Pendleton, he’s going to do it in private and nobody’s going to say anything about it.”
Has Kansas asked him to apologize publicly?
“We’ve talked to Mark about the incident. And that’s all I’ll say about it,” Marchiony said.
A reporter’s request to speak with Pendleton after Kansas’ 45-13 victory over Toledo on Saturday night was denied. When Mangino was asked about the continuing controversy, he had only one brief comment.
“I’ll say this,” he said. “I’ve talked with our administration. We have moved on, and we don’t want to discuss it. We’ve put it behind us.”
FIND OUT WHERE FOSTER IS: When playing Texas, be sure to keep any onside kicks as far away from Brandon Foster as possible.
Foster recovered the onside kick with 56 seconds left to preserve Texas’ 21-13 victory over underdog Arkansas State on Sept. 1.
Saturday night at Central Florida, he did it again. Not until Foster pounced on the onside kick with 35 seconds left were the Longhorns safe with a 35-32 escape.
NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME: Gloomy thoughts and depressing stats abound for Nebraska after a 49-31 whipping by No. 1 USC.
For one thing, the Trojans rushed for 313 yards a week after Wake Forest picked up 236 on the ground. For another, it was the third-highest point total the proud Huskers ever surrendered at home.
“This is beyond disappointment,” said Nebraska linebacker Bo Ruud. “It feels terrible right now.”